11 October 2006

Ziba Design on the importance of informed intuition [Fast Company]

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Steve McCallion of Ziba Design
In an interview with Fast Company, Steve McCallion, creative director of Ziba Design, talks emphatically about the importance of informed design intuition.

“When you don’t do the research and rely solely on the designer’s intuition, you’re assuming that the designer is the design target. You design for yourself, and people like yourself buy the end result. Of course, designers have been successful doing that. But sometimes, we’ll have a team of 15 people working on a project. We’ve got to ensure that they’re all starting from the same place. We have to inform our design teams so they feel they can make the right calls. We still make intuitive decisions, but they’re based on an exhaustive amount of research. If the research is off, the whole project is off, because we won’t be intuiting the right things.”

“Informed intuition is a systematic way of filling up your decision-making process with a deep understanding of whom you’re designing for, so you make smart decisions as opposed to guesses. We combine primary and secondary research to create user profiles and scenarios — that’s what we design to.”

I could not agree more. As I wrote only yesterday in a reaction to a George Olson article in UX Matters, it is crucial to always have qualitative data to feed the design work.

- Read full interview
Read portrait of Steve McCallion

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